Oil & Energy
2022 Could Be A Great Year For OPEC+ Producers
The year, 2021 was a challenging year for OPEC+ as prices began to recover, presenting a temptation that has always been difficult to resist.
OPEC+ exercised restraint, however, refusing to open the taps even as energy prices skyrocketed across the globe.
As the world races towards a greener tomorrow, OPEC+ officials have noted that the energy transition, if not managed well, could lead to underinvestment in oil and gas, which could mean even higher prices.
OPEC+ did some surprising things in the past two years. First, it broke up at the start of the pandemic with its two leaders—Saudi Arabia and Russia—turning on each other because of differences of opinion on how the crisis needed to be handled. Then the two made up, and the group united around the deepest production cuts in the history of OPEC in response to the demand destruction caused by the pandemic, also unprecedented.
All in all, 2020 was a year of unprecedented events.
But this year was not that much different. It was a challenging one for OPEC+ as prices began to recover, presenting a temptation that has always been difficult to resist, especially for the most oil-dependent economies in the Gulf and Africa. And yet resist they did, sticking to a production increase plan seen adding 400,000 bpd in combined oil production every month.
This plan is still in action, at least until January, when OPEC+ may reconsider as some analysts warn of looming oil oversupply. OPEC’s analysts are not among these—the cartel expects a mild and temporary effect on demand from the omicron variant of the coronavirus. But the cartel has proved in the past two years that it could be cautious.
Bloomberg’s Julian Lee earlier this weekreminded us that ever since its inception, the extended OPEC+ cartel has had its work cut out for it. From the very beginning, when members decided to reduce production in response to the U.S. shale boom, to this year, when they had to be flexible with production amid wave after wave of Covid-19 infections, it’s been a challenging five years for OPEC+.
The challenging nature of the cooperation was only to be expected given the often different priorities of member states. And yet it somehow worked, even with bumps along the road such as Iraq’s inability to stick to its production quotas, for which it had to be “punished” by getting additional cut quotas. And this may well have made the group more resilient to any future shocks.
According to analysts, the first challenge would be excess supply. It would not be much of a challenge, however, as it is seen as temporary, only until the omicron wave passes, and assuming it would be as bad as previous waves, which is a bit unlikely for a very pragmatic reason: most governments cannot afford another long lockdown.
A much bigger challenge, as noted by oil industry observers and OPEC members, is dwindling spare production supply. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, OPEC’s spare capacity could fall to 5.11 million bpd in the final quarter of next year. This is down from 9 million bpd in the first quarter of 2021.
The Energy Information Administration defines spare oil production capacity as oil production that can be started within 30 days and sustained for at least 90 days. The International Energy Agency defines spare capacity as production that can be cranked up in 90 days.
Whatever the definition, the world’s spare oil production capacity is falling because it is not a static pool of oil. Oil reservoirs that are not exploited tend to diminish in resources—one big reason why so many oil producers were reluctant to start plugging wells when the pandemic killed demand. Once you plug a well, it may or may not return to full or any production.
Speaking of plugging wells, these may well be part of the reason Russia is now near its capacity of producing oil, and it’s a much lower level than before the pandemic. Before, Russia was pumping north of 11 million bpd.
Now, according to a Reuters report citing Russian oil companies, total output is nearing capacity at 10.9 million bpd, even though Deputy PM Alexander Novak has argued Russia’s oil production will rebound to 11.33 million bpd by May.
Most of the spare capacity, therefore, will be in OPEC, and more precisely, in the Middle East. But even that spare capacity needs maintenance, and maintenance means investment. And investments in oil production are getting harder to come by these days.
“We’re heading toward a phase that could be dangerous if there’s not enough spending on energy,” Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said earlier this month. The sentiment was echoed by Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan: “We have very serious concerns that the world could run short of energy if we are not careful in managing the transition.”
It’s not just the Saudis that are warning about underinvestment, either. IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin said the world is painting itself into a corner featuring a series of energy crunches because of insufficient investment in oil and gas. And it’s public knowledge that U.S. oil companies are prioritizing returning cash to investors rather than production growth while Big Oil is pouring billions in low-carbon energy to clean up its reputation.
What all this means is that the world may be in for a few more tough years in terms of energy security, especially parts of it. OPEC+, on the other hand, may be in for some more windfall profits as the supply of oil remains tight for purely fundamental reasons. Of course, there is always the possibility of another demand destruction event in case the pandemic continues to surprise us, but OPEC+ has already been there and has done that. It will survive and maybe even become stronger.
By: Irina Slav
Slav reports for Oilprice.com
Oil & Energy
NPDC, Belema Oil Worst Gas Flaring Offenders In Feb – NNPC
Indigenous company, Belema Oil, Seplat and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) were the worst offenders in the oil and gas sector in gas flaring in February, 2023.
The three companies flared 100 per cent of their gas output, according to gas utilisation data released by the NNPC.
They were followed by Agip Energy and Natural Resources, which flared 95.93 per cent of its total gas output, and First Exploration and Production Limited, which flared 95 per cent of its total gas output.
The gas utilisation data showed that oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria produced 149.263 billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas in February, a 6.72 per cent drop, compared with 160.013 billion SCF produced in January.
A breakdown of the total gas output for February 2023 showed that associated gas stood at 107.702 billion SCF, while non-associated gas output stood at 41.561 billion SCF.
According to the NNPC, 93.52 per cent of the gas produced was utilised, while 6.48 per cent was flared.
Specifically, 139.589 billion SCF of gas was utilised in February 2023, dropping by 7.25 per cent when compared with 150.493 billion SCF of gas utilised in the previous month, while 9.674 billion SCF of gas was flared, up by 1.62 per cent, from 9.520 billion SCF flared in January 2023.
The NNPC stated that 9.084 billion SCF of gas was used as fuel gas; 45.977 billion SCF was allocated to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG; while 5.247 billion SCF was allocated to the Escravos Gas to Liquid, EGTL, plant.
In addition, 2.353 billion SCF of gas was used for Natural Gas Liquids/Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG; domestic gas sales by the Nigerian Gas Company and others gulped 23.222 billion SCF, while 53.705 billion SCF was used by gas re-injection and gas lift make-up.
In the Joint Venture segment, Mobil Nigeria recorded the highest gas output, with 25.668 billion SCF, followed by Shell with 24.203 billion SCF; TotalEnergies produced 23.481 billion SCF of gas; while Chevron recorded gas output of 20.683 billion SCF.
However, despite producing the highest quantity of gas in the month under review, Mobil flared 6.26 per cent of its total gas output; Shell flared 4.19 per cent of its total output; Total Energies flared 2.37 per cent of its total output, while Chevron flared 9.03 per cent of its gas output.
In the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) segment, Star Deepwater – Agbami Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) produced 12.744 billion SCF of gas, out of which 1.06 per cent was flared; while TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria’s Akpo FPSO produced 11.975 billion SCF of gas and flared 1.22 per cent of the total.
Oil & Energy
STRYDE To Deploy Seismic Receiver Nodes Onshore Nigeria
Seismic acquisition technology and solutions provider, STRYDE, has been awarded a contract worth over $1 million for the supply of 10,000 seismic receiver nodes and its “Nimble” node receiver system for an onshore oil and gas project in Nigeria.
STRYDE’s seismic sensor technology will be utilised on an upcoming 3D seismic survey conducted by Nigerian geoscience solutions provider, ATO Geophysical Limited, as part of an onshore oil and gas exploration project in Nigeria.
The seismic survey is due to begin in Q2 2023 and will be the first commercial deployment of STRYDE’s Nimble System in the country as it continues its international expansion within the energy sector.
STRYDE, who are the creators of the world’s smallest and lightest seismic node, will enable ATO to deliver high-density seismic data for the exploration of new reservoir locations in the grasslands and marshlands of Nigeria, for a local oil and gas operator.
Until recently, the country has typically relied on bulky, expensive, and complex cabled geophone receiver systems to acquire seismic data, which traditionally incurs significantly high CAPEX and OPEX costs, more exposure to HSE risk, higher technical downtime, and inefficiencies in the seismic acquisition programme.
With the introduction of cable-less receiver technology like STRYDE’s miniature sensor, geophysical providers and operators can now acquire high-quality data much more efficiently and with less cost, risk, and environmental footprint.
The supply of its node management solution will enable further efficiencies on the survey to be unlocked by allowing ATO to rotate up to 2,160 nodes per day, enabled by the system’s unique capability to simultaneously charge and harvest data from 360 nodes in under four hours.
This system is also equipped with STRYDE’s state-of-the-art software for efficient seismic survey field operations, data harvesting, and quality assurance, allowing ATO to produce processing-ready seismic data fast than ever before.
Head of Business Development, MENA, at STRYDE, Sam Moharir, commented on the transition to nodal technology: “ATO Geophysical Limited needed to have access to cost-effective technology that could also overcome challenges associated with the terrain they were due to operate in’’.
“With cabled systems traditionally being more physically challenging to deploy in remote, large, and complex terrain, STRYDE Nodes™ offer a more efficient and practical solution for improving seismic survey efficiencies through the elimination of restrictive and heavy cabled geophones”.
The Managing Director of ATO Geophysical Limited, Thomas Ajewole, said: “As a leading seismic data acquisition expert in Nigeria, we look forward to partnering on our first project with STRYDE and capitalizing on the benefits of its technology by providing our customers with a more efficient and cost-effective solution to onshore seismic data acquisition.
“As we continue to support the exploration of new oil and gas projects in the region, STRYDE Nodes present an exciting opportunity to acquire high-resolution seismic data required to image the subsurface and pinpoint new reservoir development opportunities for our customers”.
STRYDE’s CEO, Mike Popham, said: “STRYDE is excited to be enabling our first seismic surveys in Nigeria with ATO. This builds upon our successful history of seismic projects across Africa, including Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Kenya.
“We’re proud to see our nodes increasingly being utilized around the world for a range of industrial applications, replacing expensive, cumbersome, and impractical alternative systems with our dynamic technology”.
In addition to providing seismic solutions in the oil and gas market, STRYDE also supports new energy industries including Geothermal, CCUS, Hydrogen, and Mining, providing an affordable solution to a typically expensive phase of any exploration project.
Oil & Energy
NNPCL Clears $3.8bn JV Cash-Call Arrears Owed IOCs
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) says it has cleared the outstanding $3.8 billion joint venture cash-call debts owed to International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country.
NNPCL’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Adokiye Tombomieye, disclosed this as he lamented that inadequate JV cash call funds was stunting the growth of the oil and gas industry.
Tombomieye made the disclosure while speaking during a panel session on upstream opportunities at the fourth edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) 2023, organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Represented by the Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPCL, Mr Bala Wunti, he disclosed that the country’s oil production has maintained significant increase following measures to tackle crude oil theft.
Tombomieye warned that the NNPCL would no longer deal with portfolio companies, and urged investors to avoid acting as middlemen.
He disclosed that the company had leveraged its financial autonomy derived from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to work out and execute a payment plan for the cash call debt while balancing its energy security obligations to the nation.
“This, by no small means, re-energised the JVs to recalibrate their focus towards sustaining production and increasing their spending to procure the necessary services required to do so”, the NNPCL Chief said.
Also speaking on the panel, the Managing Director of TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Mr Mike Sangster, announced that the final investment decision on the company’s upcoming Ubeta gas project would be taken in the first quarter of 2024.
Sangster, represented by the Executive Director, JV Assets, TotalEnergies, Mr. Obi Imemba, said Ubeta was its last discovered but undeveloped well in the Oil Mining Lease, OML, 58.
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